This week I read an entry over on Garden Rant about recent fads in gardening. One guy said that one of the worst trends was the urban chicken thing. Which got me to thinking about what we’ve learned from the chicken experience. We’ve learned a LOT! And it’s been really great.
I guess the idea came about because I was interested in pushing the envelope. Being vegetarian for many many years, I always thought about factory farming and commercial food ops. I bought organic eggs, and thought that eggs were on my passable list. Didn’t want to be a militant vegetarian or a vegan (cheese?–good! ice cream?– hello! eggs? yes!). Clearly it’s a slippery slope and you can easily take one’s ethical political point of view too far, to where it sucks the joy out of living and makes it difficult to navigate in the world. I’m of the belief that there are shades of gray in things, and many choices to be made.
When the opportunity to live with some acres came around, chickens came to mind. Chickens kind of freaked me out physically. Well, so much about them. The creepy birdness for instance! But I wondered, could I, with my particular set of beliefs, raise chickens and eat their eggs? I figured it was time to get real. And there is a lot of gross stuff about it. All the man chicks that are killed at day old. The impossibility of maintaining a producing flock without culling. Dealing with illness and uh..chicken death. Lots to confront there.
Not for everyone that’s for sure. Difficult to deal with, not cheap. You can see why people were happy to move to a system where your identically sized white eggs come in a refrigerated package stamped with a letter E (what is that stamped egg thing about anyways?!!)
But in spite of all that, it’s been a truly great experience.
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